Mobile 500 Spotlight: Who’s driving global growth in mobile commerce?

August 16, 2016 10:33 AM

U.S. mobile sales are growing at a healthy clip. The 383 U.S. retailers in the just-released Internet Retailer 2017 Mobile 500 will grow their mobile sales an estimated 24.5% this year, a rate that’s nearly twice as fast as the U.S. e-commerce market as a whole. But that solid growth pales in comparison to mobile growth among the largest players in some international markets.

For example, the 12 China e-retailers in the Mobile 500 are on track to collectively grow global mobile sales 133% to $30.3 billion this year. The 14 France-based players in the guide will increase mobile revenues 71.9% to $5.6 billion. And the 11 German merchants will post $5.8 billion in mobile sales this year, a 56.5% increase, according to Internet Retailer estimates.

What’s more, six of the Top 10 retailers by sales in the Mobile 500 hail from China. And of the 10 fastest-growing retailers by mobile sales in the guide, all but two are from outside the U.S. Six are from China, one is from Germany and one is from Brazil. The fastest-growing retailer by projected 2016 mobile sales is Chinese household appliances retailer Gome Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd. Internet Retailer forecasts its sales will grow 285.11% to reach $12.6 billion this year. Gome sells online at and via its 1,800 consumer electronics stores in China. In April, Gome opened a store on Inc.’s China e-commerce site,, where it sells more than 5,000 electronics products, including refrigerators and TVs, from about 70 brands.

Another Chinese player, Inc., ranks No. 2 in the Mobile 500 with estimated 2016 mobile sales growing 86.7% to reach $15.7 billion. While already an established leader in China’s e-commerce market, JD is growing overall sales at more than twice as fast as the Chinese e-commerce market as a whole. JD is the largest online retailer in China. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. generates far more in annual sales on its online marketplaces, but—similar to eBay Inc.—Internet Retailer does not include Alibaba in its retailer rankings since it does not sell its own goods.

JD’s mobile sales are particularly strong. The merchant generated 15 million orders during its annual midyear sale day on June 18, a 100% increase over last year. JD, which recently bought Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s China e-commerce business, says 60% of the orders placed on June 18 came from mobile devices. But it wasn’t only young consumers placing those orders: JD reports the number of 36-45-year-old buyers grew 69% year over year.

Some global retailers are using innovative ways to increase mobile revenues. Take Brazil-based clothing retailer Grupo Netshoes, No. 71 in the Mobile 500. It is the third fastest-growing retailer in the Mobile 500 with m-commerce revenue forecasted to reach $373.52 million this year, up 181.1% from $132.89 million a year earlier.

Netshoes last year did something unprecedented to drive traffic and sales to two of its brands' mobile channels: It signed a deal with top Brazilian mobile operators to enable consumers to access sporting goods retailer Netshoes' mobile apps and sites and those of its fashion brand Zattini without being charged for consuming mobile data. That makes a lot of sense in a country where more than 80% of consumers use prepaid mobile plans, and thus are careful about data usage. Two weeks after the announcement, its mobile sales had increased 241% over the same period a year earlier. For all of 2015, mobile visitors to the two brands grew 400% over 2014.

The 2017 Mobile 500 includes more data and case study examples of what the global leaders in mobile commerce are doing to capture more sales from on-the-go consumers.

Click here to learn more about the Mobile 500, or to order.





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